The first preconception that came to my mind when thinking about archaeology was ancient pyramids in Egypt, and ancient tombs. I definitely did not think that archaeologist spent time finding artifacts in a place as ordinary as East Lansing. I thought that all archaeologists worked in the mountains or in historical sites around the world. Another preconception that I had was that they only looked for fossils, human remains, and human belongings from years and years ago… I never thought that archaeologists would try to find artifacts from only a few years ago. I never really watched Indiana Jones, but I somehow assumed that all archaeologists all dress like Nigel Thornberry and wear fanny packs and carry magnifying glasses. Which could be true, depending on where they are and what they’re trying to find. Before watching our first lecture, I didn’t’ know that technically all human items from the past are considered “artifacts”. I found it funny that the material remains from everyday life was reffered to as “garbage” or “everyday debris”. It’s strange to think that one day in the future, one of my most ordinary belongings could be discovered and studied by an archaeologist in the future.
After watching Archaeology along the Colorado River: Grand Canyon National Park, I found there to be many differences between modern and ancient archaeology. Watching this along with our first lecture really helped me to get a grip on what archaeology actually is, and especially what it is today! The first difference between modern archaeology and ancient archaeology is that we now are generally more focused on preservation. This makes sense, because so much of our land is industrialized now, and it is important to preserve and keep land that is purely natural. For example, the archaeologists closed the dam that was causing water to flood which caused erosion and sedimentation for years. I found this interesting, because I did not suspect that that would be something an archaeologist would do! I think it is great how the archaeologists let people outside the team tour the archaeological sites in the Grand Canyon, and show them what they are doing to preserve the land, and its importance. I think that making other people more aware of the preservation missions is a great asset that will help spread the word, and get others to help them achieve their goals. It is important to remind people of the importance of protecting all of earth’s environment. That brings me to the next difference I noticed, which is the modern resources of communication that we have today. The archaeology teams had the opportunity to exchange information with 11 different tribes in the area, and also museums. I also noticed in the video that the archaeologists were split up in separate teams, and were talking to each other on a phone, most likely updating the others about their findings. This makes the process of finding remains and improving the preservation of the Grand Canyon more efficient, and is something that wouldn’t have been used in ancient archaeology. Discovering information from the area’s previous people and what they did and left to remain there will help them to know what the land has gone through and how to protect it in the best way they can. I think it’s amazing that we are still currently finding new information about areas that we have been exploring and digging deep into for years and years. I agreed with what the woman said about how the different types of people (experienced archaeologists who have worked in various areas, and people who know the area very well) coming together as a team is very beneficial for them to achieve their goals.